10 Bloomsbury Way was built in 1947 as part of the post-war reconstruction of the area and was occupied by the Ministry of Defence. The building sits within the Bloomsbury Conservation Area and is surrounded by prominent buildings, most notably Hawksmoor’s last London church, the Grade I-listed St George of Bloomsbury.
The existing building had a defensive appearance and a closed feel. Our refurbishment reconsidered the relationship of the building to the street, creating an office entrance that turns the ‘prow’ of the triangular plan into an entrance that proudly addresses the street in three directions.
Replacing the ground and first floor façades, we opened the building up with a modern minimal design that has a distinctive linear feel. The new stone frontage has large glazed openings that wrap the whole building at the ground and first floor, maximising views in, out and through the building. The use of stone evokes a pronounced solidity that is emphasised where the stonework meets the ground level by a skirting detail made up of slightly darker, less porous and more durable stone.
We re-orientated the building’s primary entrance away from its current position on Bloomsbury Way to the building’s apex on the corner of Bloomsbury Way and New Oxford Street. The new canopied entrance is enhanced by a three-storey metal and glass bay window that gives the corner a distinctive character while maintaining the elegant proportions of the original structure. This new light-filled space features full height glazing on all three sides, allowing views through the reception from Bloomsbury Way to New Oxford Street and enhancing the building’s relationship with the city. A further section of double height space leads to the central lift lobby, alongside a new tenant’s café and seating area. The café area, inspired by the ambiance of airport lounges, is a space ideal for socialising with a unique feel of comfort and a relaxed atmosphere, challenging the ubiquitous blandness of office receptions.